Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Don't Want to Be a Selfish Writer

I have stumbled across a disturbing trend. Now mind you, this is just my opinion and I don't find that it applies to all authors. You are welcome to disagree with me and I will still welcome your comments, but this is a subject that has bothered me now for several weeks.

I don't want to be a selfish writer.

Lately I have seen a disturbing trend among some of today's writers. Speaking ill of interrupted writing time (either by a spouse or children), missed opportunities or becoming so lost in their hard edged pursuit to win publication, they miss the journey on the way.

I'm not including every writer in this statement, because I understand that this doesn't apply to every writer. But what I have seen bothers me greatly.

And I never want to become a writer that pushes her family away because I must hit my word count.

I never want to become a writer that misses the little pleasures in life, that misses the s'mores over a roasting pit in the back yard. That closes the office door and will not let anyone in for any reason, even if my baby lost her first tooth.

I never want to become a writer so wrapped up in my ability to put words on a page that I forget the ONE who gave it to me in the first place.

But now I must speak out of both sides of my mouth. Because if we AREN'T jealous (notice I didn't say selfish) with our writing time we will never get anything written. We will become blown away from our writing priorities by every wind that breezes our hair.

I don't believe it was Christ's intent when He gave us the ability to write that we would push everything else aside. Our families still need us, God still wants our love and attention and in doing these things, we BECOME better writers, because we realize what is important. What will resonate with our future readers.

I NEVER want to become a selfish writer. And I will put both feet before me in this post and say, if the only way I could become published was to become such a writer, I would give it up this moment.

It's not worth it. 

Would you care to share your thoughts? Agree or disagree, you are still welcome!

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  1. This is a powerful post, Casey, and very well written. A great reminder that there is a different between protecting our writing time and being selfish with it.

    I will tell you though, as a wife and mother, that writing does involve sacrifice. At least writing for publication. Do I miss out on some things with my hubby and my son? Yep, I do. There have been times when he's taken Brogan to the movies or to the park, and I've had to stay home to get some writing done.

    It's a give and take. A balancing act. One I'm still struggling to find.

  2. I like this post a lot, Casey. I really struggle with feeling guilty when I do take writing time. Last night I dreamed about my story, which happens a lot. Joining a critique group which meets every two weeks and is face-to-face has helped me with producing at least a minimum (6 or more pages in 2 weeks is a small goal but at least it keeps me writing). Your prayers have meant a lot to me in this area, too.

  3. I go mad on this point. Simply mad. Because I adore my children. I'm deeply grateful to God for my role as wife and mother. But writing makes me feel alive, helps me parent better and in a quite literal sense keeps me sane.

    I loved Katie's point about protecting writing time. I see it that way. Protecting time with kids and time with words.

    So much else goes by the wayside so those two stay.

    ~ Wendy

  4. I struggle with this everyday. As a writer, there is something in me that compells me to write and seek out time for it. And if I'm not careful, I can become very selfish about it.

    One thing I do is pray at the start of everyday, and ask God to help me keep my priorities where they should be. God comes first, my husband and son second, and my responsibilities to keep our home third. My writing takes fourth place. It sounds like I never get any writing done, but God is faithful, and the little time I can find for writing is often very rewarding. :-) Thanks for posting this, Casey.

  5. It's hard. Writing calls for such a commitment of time, effort, energy, and dreams.

    And family does too.

    I think it is hardest on writers who have little ones. Mine are older and understand a little better that writing is working.

    We all balance life, with or without writing, as best we can, and I think it's great that you're already strategizing how you will prioritize.

  6. KATIE, from what I have seen, I think you probably do a pretty good job of it. :) And you're right, there is a difference between barricading ourselves away to selfishly right for our own pleasure and realizing we have a goal to meet and we have to let some other things go. Such a delicate balance! But I think it helps tremendously to have supporting spouses and family.

    JULIA, you have them. I can only imagine how much more difficult it must be with small children. But I'm sure there are times when they play by themselves and you can steal a few seconds with the WIP. :)

  7. WENDY, I think there is definately a difference between protecting and being selfish. And where the two diverge is when a writer gives the reponse that they can't help with something when it comes to their family because they are writing. At least for me, my writing is not THAT important that I give up a relationship with the ones I love.

    GWEN, I loved your comment, thank you! You have put it perfectly, we must have it in perspective and God so completely honors that. He understands our love, He knows our need, He's going to take care of us. :)

  8. ERICA, thanks for coming by today. I think you could write this post better than anyone because of all the tremendous amounts of writing you do a year. I think it really comes down to how supportive a family is. That makes ALL the difference in the world! I do wish every writer were so blessed.

  9. These are the kinds of thoughts on my mind these days too. I only have so much time with my kiddos. I really have to weigh how fast I want to move in this writing journey. I'm moving at a snails pace as it is, but I often wonder if I need to go even slower. The slower I pace myself, the more family time there is.

    But this goes for the internet too. I have hardly been online for the past two weeks and it's been great for the family.

  10. I liked your thoughts Casey. Great post and a good reminder that we need to prioritize the things in our life.

  11. JOY, I agree with you. And I'm trying to watch how much free time I spend on the computer too. I know my family would rather see me than have me in the office clicking away. :)

    JULIE, thanks for jumping in with your thoughts. It can be such a balance, can't it?


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